UTAH'S FLOOD WATCH

UPDATE: How much will tropical storm Hilary impact Utah?

Aug 18, 2023, 3:42 PM | Updated: Feb 12, 2024, 1:00 pm

Hurricane Hilary...

Hurricane Hilary was off Mexico’s Pacific coast late Friday morning. It’s expected to have both direct and indirect weather impacts on Utah over the next few days. (National Weather Service Ocean Prediction Center)

(National Weather Service Ocean Prediction Center)

UPDATE: Hilary has been downgraded to a tropical storm since this article was published. Though, it still poses major threats to some areas of deadly rainfall along the western U.S.. Estimates on its impact in Utah as detailed below should still be precautioned.


SALT LAKE CITY — Hurricane Hilary is expected to provide significant rainfall in parts of the West as it makes landfall this weekend, and will likely have both direct and indirect impacts on Utah over the next few days.

The storm system formed into a tropical storm on Wednesday before developing into a hurricane Thursday, according to the National Hurricane Center. It quickly strengthened into a Category 4 storm by Friday morning as it spins off the coast of the Baja California peninsula in Mexico.

The center projects the storm to make landfall in Mexico as early as Saturday night before moving north into the U.S., reaching Southern California as early as Sunday, possibly remaining a tropical storm at that time. The National Weather Service on Friday issued a tropical storm watch for the region, advising that 1 to 8 inches or more of rain is possible in places throughout the region as it makes landfall.

If it remains as strong as it is currently forecast, it would be the first tropical storm to reach Southern California in 84 years, the Associated Press reports.

Where Hilary may impact Utah

Hurricane Hilary’s remnants are expected to continue to move north as it weakens.

Some parts of Utah are in line to potentially receive moisture tied to the storm. The National Hurricane Center’s moisture model, updated Friday morning, shows that parts of southwestern Utah, including St. George, Cedar City and Zion National Park, are in line to potentially receive up to 2 inches of rain from its remnants as it moves north.

KSL meteorologist Matt Johnson says these areas will likely receive “light to moderate” but steady rainfall because of how far out it is from Hilary’s center. If that’s the case, it will be different from the traditional scattered downpours tied to summer monsoons.

The storm is expected to provide heavy rainfall throughout Nevada and western Arizona, as well. Johnson adds that it all depends on the path Hilary takes over the next few days, meaning that direct storm rainfall could end up skipping Utah, or that more parts of the state may be impacted.

“That’s something we’ll have to watch because if the center of the track shifts a little further east, St. George, Kanab, points further north and east can tap into more of that rain,” he said. “As it stands, that track will hit southern California and we’re kind of on that northeast side (of the storm system).”

Hilary’s indirect impacts on Utah

Either way, Utah is expected to experience at least some impacts tied to the storm, though a little more indirectly.

Every tropical disturbance creates a “huge swath” of deep tropical water vapor that surrounds the system, as is the case with Hurricane Hilary, Johnson explains. That tropical water vapor is forecast to end up in Utah as early as Saturday, increasing the amount of vapor already in play from the monsoonal moisture that has impacted the state over the past week.

Johnson said it would “juice up” the existing monsoonal vapor that develops into scattered showers and thunderstorms. This means some areas could receive significant monsoonal rainfall, elevating flash flood risks this weekend. Other areas could be skipped because some added cloud cover may lessen the moisture that falls.

“We’ll probably tap into that. It’ll feel quite muggy,” he said. “The storms are already packing a punch, but it’s just going to reinforce the monsoon that we already have. … The amount of water vapor available to make these thunderstorms is at a surplus.”

While Hilary will move out by early next week, the monsoonal pattern is forecast to end anytime soon. There’s a decent chance of scattered showers and thunderstorms across the state every day for most of next week, with the strongest probabilities in southwest Utah.

KSL 5 TV Live

Utah's Flood Watch

Severe storms last week damaged a Moab couple's roof. (Tammie Nakai)...

Shelby Lofton

Home damaged by Moab flooding

Recent flash flooding in Moab hit streets, canyons, and damaged some residents' homes. One couple said they've been living under a hole-covered roof since severe storms hit Southeastern Utah last week.

20 days ago

Flash flooding in Grand County Utah...

Mary Culbertson

Flash flood watch coming quickly for southeast Utah, Grand County officials say

Grand County officials warned southeastern Utah of a flash flood watch that will take place Thursday afternoon to evening.

26 days ago

Flash flooding in Moab on Friday. Excessive heat remains a fixture in Utah's northern half, while f...

Carter Williams, KSL.com

What to know as excessive heat, flash-flood potential linger in Utah this week

SALT LAKE CITY — Extreme heat will linger across the Wasatch Front for a few more days, while flash flooding potential lingers across southern Utah to start this week, as different weather patterns continue to play out across the state. The National Weather Service on Monday issued excessive heat warnings and heat advisories throughout the […]

28 days ago

Officials urge people to stay away from high-running waters, and to implement systems to avoid floo...

Shelby Lofton

Safety and flood warnings near rivers, reservoirs hit capacity

Heavy snow two years in a row left reservoirs filled to the brim. Now, high temperatures are making rivers more active than usual. Here is how you can keep your home and family safe this summer.

1 month ago

Rising temperatures have caused minor flooding from the Weber River, effecting two RV parks. (Andre...

Andrew Adams

Minor flooding expected in areas along Weber River in Summit County this week

Areas of two RV parks and acres of farmland were flooded Tuesday as the Weber River swelled with runoff waters. Water managers said they anticipated the potential for more minor flooding through the week with hot temperatures finally arriving.

2 months ago

Lower Bell Canyon Reservoir is sitting at capacity with a 12-foot depth in its deepest spots this M...

Andrew Adams

Sandy eyes forecast with runoff expected to increase

Eyes were on the forecast Thursday with a key reservoir sitting at capacity, and runoff waters expected to increase in the weeks to come.

2 months ago

Sponsored Articles

young male technician is repairing a printer at office...

Les Olson

Unraveling the dilemma between leasing and buying office technology

Carefully weigh these pros and cons to make an informed decision that best suits your business growth and day-to-day operation. 

A kitchen in a modern farmhouse....

Lighting Design

A room-by-room lighting guide for your home

Bookmark this room-by-room lighting guide whenever you decide to upgrade your lighting or style a new home.

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

UPDATE: How much will tropical storm Hilary impact Utah?